When I posted the link to Tuesday’s post on Facebook, I introduced it with, “Things I knew but didn’t always do.” Almost every regret I might have comes from forgetting one or more of these things.
+ Don’t go into debt. I still remember the stereo system I didn’t want to wait for. It was the first thing I ever bought on credit. It was nice to have, but it was also a foot in the door for that demon: “Why save up when you can get a credit card and have it now, and it will only cost 18% more than the price tag — or 27% — or 34% …?” It took me years, once I stopped using credit cards, to pay those balances down to zero.
+ Love one another. Well, this is a no-brainer, but like many folks I don’t always remember it. Forgetting this commitment is why we have wars, and murders, and all that other ugly stuff, and why there are some folks with not very good memories of me.
+ Step back from anger. Oh, I wish I could take back so many of the things I’ve said or done in anger, if not all of them. I reserve an exemption for “righteous anger,” but is there really such a thing?
+ Collect wisdom and beauty. I have done both, but there are days I think I need to review my collection of wisdom more often.
+ Laugh at yourself. If “someday we’ll look back on this and laugh,” why not get started right away?
+ Listen. When stuff goes awry, so often I have reflected on what another person said and thought, “Could they have been trying to tell me x and I didn’t hear?”
+ Walk in the light, and away from darkness. You can pay attention to the birds soaring overhead or the trolls under the bridge, and only one course will give you peace. I’m talking in metaphors here, but I think you get the picture.
+ Believe in your power. The power of one individual to change the world is vastly underrated, and it starts inside each of us. No one has more power to change your world than the person residing between your temples.
+ Turn off the electronic shackles. Disconnect – and in scattering the electrons to the wind find authentic ways to connect and fight off fear. I wish I could have back the hours I spent in the 1970s staring at TV screens and pinball machines — and once the mechanical games turned digital, the hours I have spent staring at screens of all kinds.
That’s what I would say if I could go back in a time machine and talk to the guy standing next to that 1969 Toyota yesterday. But you know, I think he would say, “I know, you’re absolutely right,” and then go on to make the same choices and decisions. So the best course is to offer a 10th suggestion.
+ Stop looking back. This is today. Try to live this way from this day forward.